Insegnamento a.a. 2021-2022


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 24
PPA (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 24 (I sem.)

Lezioni della classe erogate in forma blended (in parte online e in parte in presenza)

Mission & Content Summary


Public administration comprises a range of public sector institutions which play a considerable role in the political process and are critical for policy design and implementation. At the same time, public administration is a multidisciplinary research field based on approaches from political science, sociology, economics, management and others. This course introduces students to public administration as an international field and object of research. It presents theoretical approaches to understand and design public administration institutions and gives an overview of recent reform trends. The course also covers state-of-the-art research approaches, designs and methods to empirically assess the success of administrative reforms.


The main topics of the course are organized in four sections.


1. Foundations of public administration as a field and object of study

2. Theoretical approaches to understanding and studying public administration

3. Empirical examples and variations of public administration across countries

4. Classic and recent research on public administration reforms and performance

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Describe the foundations of public administration as an empirical phenomenon and field of research
  • Identify the intellectual traditions underpinning different models of public administration
  • Describe and distinguish different national or local models of public administration
  • Explain current reform trends and debates in public administration research


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Critically compare the intellectual traditions underpinning different models of public administration
  • Design their own empirical research in the field
  • Present their own research clearly and effectively

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments


The course follows a blended teaching model with a mixture of online and in-class sessions. Asynchronous online sessions in the form of short video lectures present and explain theoretical foundations and important concepts. Face-to-face sessions allow students to deepen, discuss and apply the new knowledge through discussions, case studies and group exercises. A preparation of previous video lectures and reading materials as well as active participation is of highest importance for the learning success during the sessions held in presence. Some in-class sessions are reserved for the presentation of students’ group work. Group works and presentations are designed to train student’s team work abilities as well as the skills to effectively collect, organize and present information and to design own empirical research. The presentations also serve as a starting point for further discussions in class and the comparison of different empirical models and research designs.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
x   x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Peer evaluation


10% online quizzes

30% group presentations

60% written exam


Three online quizzes in BBoard throughout the semester test students’ knowledge and understanding of the concepts covered in the asynchronous online sessions. The group work assesses students’ understanding of the content discussed in class and their ability to apply it to a specific administrative system, to design their own research and to present their arguments and ideas convincingly in class. The group work is delivered in two presentations per group according to the details provided in class. The written exam tests students’ knowledge and understanding of the theoretical foundations, reform and research trends as well as students’ ability to critically discuss and compare different theoretical models and empirical examples of public administration. For attending students the exam is based on slides and class discussions.


100% final written exam based on slides and readings.

Teaching materials


All teaching materials, videos, slides and readings will be provided on BBoard.

Last change 19/07/2021 14:57